As a young 8 year old I was active and loved playing games. I also thought I was a super hero and wanted to be a ninja turtle so badly. My room was even themed the ninja turtles. My friends and I would have tree houses and we had no fear when it came to climbing to the highest parts of houses and objects. The more challenging it was, the more we had to do it.
In the same breath I also loved barbies and soft toys and all the girly things. So I guess I was both a tomboy and a girly girl. I would want every single barbie there was and loved dressing up my toys and I would as a youngster wear my mom and grannies high heeled shoes around the house with their handbags. I guess you can safely say I am still that person now at the age of 30. I love shopping and can spend hours weekly walking around in the shopping malls and looking at new fashioned items. I love getting my hair and nails done and love that I can lift big heavy weights and still keep my femininity.
I like to look after myself and making sure I feel both strong and beautiful on the platform. But back tracking back to my 8 year old self, this is also when I started karate with my childhood friend. I loved the fact that I could do martial arts and act like I was a little ninja after watching the karate kid. I ended my karate career after years of training as a 3rd Dan Black belt and a six time karate world champion. How did I get to this point? It wasn’t easy.
At my very first grading I was one of the only kids that failed and it was devastating for me. This was also the time my father decided that he will take me under his wing and started training me with extra sessions as part of my karate training. I knew I didn’t want to stay back and let my friends pass me. Even though I wasn’t the best at the time, I still had that burning desire to achieve and be great.
It took a lot of sacrifice from my side and it meant less time playing with friends. In my limited time, I had to focus on schoolwork and extra training lessons. There were a lot of tears and sore muscles which was tough, but growing up like that prepared me mentally and physically. I hated it. But now I am nothing but grateful for how I grew up because it taught me valuable lessons which I believe made me the individual I am today. One that isn’t scared for hard work and love knowing that all the hard work gets rewarded. Rewarded with standing on the podium knowing you did that. Those early mornings in the rain when it was still dark before school I was doing ladder drills and stairs for agility and speed. Those weightlifting sessions after school to increase explosive power and after homework it was actual karate lessons.
I still remember my granny who parked her baby blue car under the same tree every single day., picking up my sister and I from primary school without fail. She would take me to my weightlifting sessions which I did not like at the time because I got teased at school doing what they called then a “male only” sport. But yet I carried on even with all the stigma around it. I was there every week with my granny watching my training with my coach Beebob Kinghorn. He was one scary looking man drilling into me technique and speed with the barbell. I never understood why at the time my father got me into this sport but he did loads of research on how athletes would train to become explosive and strong and not lose flexibility for their sport.
My father sat hours and hours each day researching training methods and ways which he could help me become the best athlete possible. All of that paid off at my first karate world championship where I beat the favourite athlete according to ranking from Japan who they said would easily take her title. But In the final I won hands down not giving the girl any chance to score points against me. It was an amazing feeling. A feeling I realized was due to my daily hard work. This was all done at the age of 12 in Cardiff Wales. This is where it all started for me